Coffin procession marks Preston North End promotion

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Thousands of people took to the streets in Bamber Bridge to witness one of football’s most unusual rituals.

Crowds gathered as a coffin was paraded through the streets, to mark Preston North End’s promotion to the Championship.

The tradition, which began in 1948, dictates that a coffin is either raised or buried whenever the Lilywhites or Blackburn Rovers are promoted or relegated.

Jayne Maddock, who was dressed as a captain on a float at this year’s event, described the day as “brilliant”.

She said: “The streets were rammed for nearly a mile of it in Bamber Bridge.

“It’s just a tradition that we’ve always kept. Every time Preston or Blackburn get promoted or relegated we raise or bury the coffin.

PNE 'Raising The Coffin' Parade at Bamber Bridge.'Preston Duck leads the Parade with The Nuns and Dave Tuson (left) and Mick Manford.'12th July 2015

PNE 'Raising The Coffin' Parade at Bamber Bridge.'Preston Duck leads the Parade with The Nuns and Dave Tuson (left) and Mick Manford.'12th July 2015

“It just brings everybody out.”

As part of the procession on Sunday, the coffin was driven in a hearse and then paraded around.

Jayne said: “It is just showing support North End, but when they are relegated we bury them.

“It goes back many years, and this is my third one.

PNE 'Raising The Coffin' Parade at Bamber Bridge.'The PNE Coffin inside the hearse.'12th July 2015

PNE 'Raising The Coffin' Parade at Bamber Bridge.'The PNE Coffin inside the hearse.'12th July 2015

“The rain held off, it went really well and the kids loved it.

The last event was held ahead of the start of the 2011/12 campaign, following PNE’s relegation from the Championship.

Then, the more sombre affair saw the coffin carried by ‘Brigadiers’, surrounded by men dressed as nuns, and being led by a pretend bishop wearing a PNE mitre.

There was supposed to be another procession following the 2011/12 season after Blackburn Rovers were relegated to the Championship after an 11-year stay in the Premier League but due to organisational problems, it didn’t go ahead.

PNE 'Raising The Coffin' Parade at Bamber Bridge.'crowds grab their chance to take a picture of the coffin in the hearse.'12th July 2015

PNE 'Raising The Coffin' Parade at Bamber Bridge.'crowds grab their chance to take a picture of the coffin in the hearse.'12th July 2015